Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Fri 23 Mar 2007

Why Dawn rules

Category : meow

Dawn Kua writes in "Working with the Cat Welfare Society" which covers whole variety of interactions with heartlanders, town council officers, police, volunteers, MPs and the government. As someone who gets easily tired out by interactions and who struggles to write, I am in constant awe of her activity and blogging! And of course very thankful she is on the side of angels!

This is a case about a man who appears to love a kitten. Yet there is a significant danger posed to the kitten by a string (they certainly kill!) The time invested and the manner in which Dawn and the adoption volunteer approached the problem against the days' other full demands is worth learning from. And I'm not forgetting the people who commented, because its also about the blogging and they certainly helped in their own way.

First she reports a "Kitten tied with a string," 19 Mar 2007: 11:57am:

"On Saturday evening, I saw this kitten tied with a string outside a shop. Around its neck was what looked to be nylon string. The kitten 'belongs' to a vagrant man who happens to live there." ... [The adoption volunteer] advised him that the kitten might get strangled. He insisted that the string was safe and that someone might run off with a cage."

In "Breakaway collar," 19 Mar 2007: 12:34pm, she says,

"...this was the next best thing we could think of - a breakaway collar. Should the cat yank or be caught, the whole collar will snap and the cat can then run off. He said he would use it ..."

"Kitten on string," 19 Mar 2007: 5.57pm reveals a perplexing conversation with a shop owner nearby:

"I went to speak with a shop owner nearby whom I believed might be able to convince the man that this was not a good idea. Unfortunately she was just as eccentric. She started telling me that the cats were stolen..."

"I took out some photos to show her of cats that were dumped and told her that there are so many cats around - why would someone want to steal this man's kittens?

She took one look at the photos and asked me if I could give her the cats. I told her that it was important to get the cats sterilised.

She and the man later told me that they hoped to get friends for the cat. The woman also said she wanted to mate them so that there would be lots of kittens."

In "Kitten on string update," 19 Mar 2007: 6.13pm, she sounds a little desperate:

"The collar was nowhere in sight. ... [the man looking after the cat] said that the collar was too loose ... and that he would not use it till the kitten was a little older. ... I also gave him a sterilisation brochure and he seemed less hostile to the idea today. He said that he will think about it again when the time is nearer.

So what to do now? Call the AVA? ... What else to do? Monitor the situation? Hope the kitten doesn't get strangled? Keep talking to him in the hope that he will come around gradually? ... Some times there really aren't good solutions - just less bad ones."

The next day she provided "Kitten on String Update 2," 20 Mar 2007: 3.24pm in which a conversation with SPCA's Deidre reveals that:

"...when the [SPCA] inspector asked to take the kitten, the man threatened to stab him if he did."

In the comments that follow, talk of a harness arises, and then some progress reported in "Kitten on man's lap," 23 Mar 2007: 6:06pm:

"The adoption volunteer and I went down and offered him the harness - we knew we had made progress when he suggested we put the harness on. The last time ... I [didn't] think he wanted us to touch the kitten."

Today, a safer situation is finally revealed in "Kitten on harness," 23 Mar 2007: 6.24pm.

"Kitten on string ... [is] now kitten on a harness! ... He's on a harness which will probably be safer (though he could still get caught technically). ... The adoption volunteer and I struggled with the very active kitten for quite a few minutes making sure that the harness was on. The man was quite worried that the kitten was bitey (he was) so he left us to put the harness on.

At the end, he told us that he may be leaving Singapore in a month's time. He said that he would like to give the kitten to us as he can see we love cats."

It's not over yet but this has already illustrated that not everything can be solved by just expressing what we feel to be logical, in just a single conversation. It takes time, effort, knowledge, skill and perseverance to carefully approach, pacify, earn trust, allow logic to sink in (i.e. educate) and nudge individuals towards solutions one step at a time.

This example, one of the easier cases she has reported, is something I'll remember and cite in future - both for blogging and problem solving!

Thanks Dawn!

Posted at 3:16PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .